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4.4 out of 5 stars22
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 24 January 2010
You won't buy this blu-ray for the HD video quality, although it is very good.
You'll buy this for the superb DTS HD Master Audio quality.

This Blu-ray comes with 2 soundtracks - Stereo PCM and DTS HD MA surround. The stereo is fine but to be fully immersed in the music you will require a quality 5.1 surround system that supports DTS HD Master Audio.

They playing is just superb. Barenboim is a true master conducting the orchestra and playing the piano with such superb control, extracting the complete beauty and emmotion of Beethovens piano concertos. The piano is at the heart of the orchestra (and the music of course), sounds absolutely beautiful and does not overdominate. It is perfectly balanced.

The 5 Piano Concertos were recorded live over 3 days. What I would have given to have had tickets to any of those concerts over the three days.
Remember this is live and flawless. No studio recording. No retakes.

Medici Arts have to be commended - they could have easily milked this with a 2 or 3 disk release. To purchase all 5 piano concertos on one disk with this level of musicianship and sound quality makes this the best value-for-money music blu-ray disk yet released.

Assuming you have a Blu-ray player:
1. Do you have a quality 5.1 surround system that supports DTS HD Master Audio? Yes. BUY!
2. Do you like Beethovens Piano Concertos? Yes. BUY! This is a must for all Beethoven fans.
3. Want to show off your ultra expensive HD Cinema system? BUY!

Frankly the best live Beethoven Piano Concertos. Congratulations Mr Barenboim.

I also wish it were available on SACD or DVD-Audio as well.
0Comment|27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
The first thing to note about this issue is the considerable generosity in playing length enabling all five concertos to be accommodated on the one disc. Add to that the undisputed reputation of Barenboim over many years as a highly respected interpreter of Beethoven coupled with an equally respected orchestra and recording company and the whole package seems unbeatable. As has been normal for Barenboim for many years, he directs from the keyboard and this has a clear unifying effect on the interpretation being offered.

This latest set of performances by Barenboim is fully aware of the latest thinking as regards authentic interpretation but played on modern instruments. The orchestra is reduced in size as appropriate. Barenboim has made previous recordings of these works, but in my opinion, these are by far his best. There is ample drive as is typical of Barenboim, but far less of a `Romantic period' feel about these performances than has been apparent in his previous recordings. In other words this set is firmly based in the `Classical period' but with increasing drama through the set which prepares the way for the `Romantics' without actually being there. In my opinion this is historically correct. The use of a reduced modern orchestra keeps the scale correct while allowing greater impact of the individually more powerful modern instruments. This balances his use of the modern 'Steinway Grand' solo instrument. In my opinion this is a good solution to delivering a period performance in a modern context.

The imaging is crisp and the camera work is fully involving without being invasive or distracting. The sound is presented in good quality DTS-HD surround as well as stereo. There will be those who do not warm to the venue which is visually rather Spartan, but it does have the virtue of not damaging the acoustics of the recording.

Having all the concertos on one disc and in such a high quality presentation as this makes for an outstanding bargain and so it should give much pleasure and satisfaction to future purchasers. In these circumstances it seems only reasonable to rate this as a 5 star issue. However, there is an alternative set now available of these concertos on a single disc by Buchbinder with the VPO on C Major. That too is fully deserving of 5 stars and may appeal to those who find Barenboim a little too insistent for their taste. The ideal would be to buy both! Either set is likely to give considerable musical reward so choice will be largely a matter of taste which is beyond the remit of this review.
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on 28 March 2010
Having been thrilled by the recent BBC recordings of Barenboim and the Staatskapelle playing the Beethoven concertos in London's Festival Hall, I was keen to buy this disc, and a new Blu-Ray player to play it on.
Nearly everything about this BRD is superb. The performances are brilliant, the filming and sound recording are superb, so realistic that you can practically feel the sweat rolling down Barenboim's face. There's a lot of that, as, clearly, it was very hot under the spotlights in Bochum's modernistic Jahrhundert Halle, and he's a really physical player-conductor.
I'm not expert enough to evaluate the performances, but I liked them very much indeed. I also liked the surroundings, and the "clash" between their modernism and the somewhat archaic formality of orchestral players in bow ties and tails. DB himself is less formally dressed, as if to provide a contrast.
However, I reserve a big black mark for Medici, the publishers (and take off 1 star). Why oh why did they omit a proper menu, by which those of us with less-complicated BRD players can navigate our way round the contents? I think they thereby did a disservice - a major disservice - to their customers, to the performers (and the composer!), and to the film production team who have done so well. Perhaps Medici could repair this disgraceful omission in future editions ... ?
Otherwise, you won't get better or more "immediate" Beethoven than this.
11 comment|11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 11 July 2012
I knew Barenboim was good but I didn't know he was this good. I wouldn't think these concertos have been played with such self-assured mastery since Beethoven played them himself!

I put them on intending to listen to the first one but actually watched/listened to half the disc before I could tear myself away and the other half before the day was out. The visuals work much better than they do with his equally masterful Beethoven sonatas, because with an orchestra, there's more for the cameras to look at.

Regarding the technical issues that have been raised, I would guess that the differences of opinion arise from people having different facilities on their machines and remotes. My machine displays only a "play" option when the disc loads and that is what comes up whenever I press "top menu". If I want chapters, they have to be called up via "pop menu/menu". It's odd not to have them on the top menu, certainly, but as a last resort, it would be easy just to click through the chapters/movements and with music of this quality, it would be a small price to pay.
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on 11 January 2012
I was a little concerned when I saw the packaging stating the video on this disk was only 1080i rather than 1080P however upon playing the disk my concerns were completely unfounded. The picture quality is excellent as is the DTS-MA 7.1 Soundtrack. Navigating the disk is not the issue some reviewers have mentioned as once you are passed the, admittedly poor, menu you can navigate to any concerto or movement.
In terms of the content the disk is excellent value offering all 5 concerti played by one of the world's greats. This disk represents great value as it could so easily have been streeeetched out across 2 disks with the inevetable price hike this would involve.
If you're a fan of either Baronhoim, Beethoven or just classical music in general I would highly recommend this disk as a worth addition to any collection. In fact even if you not a fan of classical music buy this disk and be converted!!!
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on 28 June 2012
I have only played Piano Concerto 1 and 5 at this stage. I have never seen or heard anything like this disc. I am a great fan of Beethoven and I just found these concertos magical , particularely the 5th. I have been raving about Barenboim to my
friends and family . I did not have a Blue ray player and ordered this disc by mistake. I just had to go and buy a Blue Ray player and found that if I only had one concerto on the disc it was worth the purchase price of the Blue Ray player.

I felt that the disc was better than an y concert that i have attended, I had the whole orchestra and soloist in my lounge room
I thought I had gone to heaven.Thankyou to Daniel Barenboim for giving me so much pleasure.
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on 2 November 2010
For those who don't like the hall in which the performance is taking place, I'd recommend to shut their eyes and "just" listen the fantastic 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio. To see this genius playing on a Blu-ray Disc without music sheets all five concertos and conducting them at the same time is for me good enough. Please note that this also is for the first time all five concertos have been released on a Blu-ray. The artistic experience thousand times outweighs the interiors.
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on 1 February 2010
Barenboim and the Staatskapelle delight us with five concerts performed magnificently. The audio quality in dts hd ma is very difficult to overcome. Bravo!
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on 25 July 2011
This review is for the Blu-ray version of the Beethoven 5 piano concertos performed by Daniel Barenboim with the Staatskapelle Orchestra. What a magnificent recording! I remember the young Barenboim's first recording in these concertos in the 60's with Otto Klemperor. In real terms the cost of these audio disc were many, many times the cost of this set. Of course we are comparing apples and pears because the former was merely a sound disc while here we can see the live performance in glorious colour. These days we get so much more for our money! In my opinion you will not get much better audio and video quality than on this recording!

One of the reviewers has commented that you will be buying this disc for the fabulous quality of the sound recording. While that comment is probably correct I think that many will also be buying it for the technical quality of the video. This too is truly excellent. The video is pin sharp throughout the performances, irrespective of which camera is used. Quite often the technicians run out of HD cameras and this is very noticeable in some shots. This is not a problem in this recording. The video looks very natural and appealing and the viewer can see all the wonderful music instruments in fine detail. The beautiful patina of the string instruments is there for all to see. Two soundtracks are provided - PCM Stereo and DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround Sound. Both options are excellent but if you have the right equipment the latter gives a much richer and realistic audio experience. The balance is excellent.

To my surprise one reviewer has slated this recording with a 1* `disappointing' rating saying that the disc looked like `it was made in someone's garage on a cheap inkjet'. In response to that all I can say is that I wish that all my dvd's were made in this way. It beggars the question as to whether the person brought a genuine or pirate copy? There is simply no justification for making such a comment. The disc itself is a perfectly normal dvd, albeit that the colour is a fairly bland grey. The cover slip is a similar colour but it is professionally produced. The disc comes with a detailed 25 page booklet printed in English, German and French. This gives details of the performances, the artists and the concertos. It is produced professionally on gloss paper. What more do you want? By all means be critical about the performance and the technical quality of the recording but I wish people would be more objective and fair. This highly prejudicial review is neither fair nor accurate.

The dvd comes with a proper menu system so you can easily navigate your way to a particular concerto or to a particular movement. The menu is interactive and moves along with the performances but there is no picture in picture. The menu is slightly unusual in that you have to press play before you can access the sub-menus. I think this feature fooled a couple of reviewers into thinking that it lacked either chapter or audio selection.

Barenboim conducts these concertos from the keyboard and he brings out the very best of the orchestra. These are performances to relish and to play over and over again. Barenboim is amazing. He just seems to get better and better despite the fact that he is nearing 70. I rate these performances very highly and all 5 concertos for the price of one disc is absolutely superb good value. It is a shame I can't give it more than 5 stars!
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on 21 February 2014
Sound: excellent, and it's got 5.1 true HD audio I think.
Visuals: Good.
Quality of performance: Top notch.

There is no menu to skip between the concertos; all five concertos are one long-running video with track markings. Not sure how useful this is.
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